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Challenger 3 - cf416 arc 2016 ch3 blog - 2016 - 12 - 07

Tuesday Morning 6th December 2016

Still flying the spinny, still with Ricky on the helm, but no Challenger 2 in sight. The AIS shows Challenger 2 at a steady range of 12.48 k with a speed of 8.4 against our 7.6 ( although our SOG remains constant at 8.5 +). Never trust computers. However C2 is trackng 266 against our 260.8 so we must eventually meet. 366 k to go and the excitement has captivated everyone in their own style – sleepy, laughing, serious, joking, political, grumpy but all wanting to win. Food is running low but Skipper has turned down Bill’s suggestion of a sweepstake for the first fresh meat. He had in any case taken himself out of the running because he reckoned that his meat would be too tough – but nicely aged.

Our speed has now risen to 10.1 with the AIS recording 7.6 so there must be something wrong( I know, computers are infallible etc etc) Proof of the pudding is when we steam ahead at the line.

Peter is fixing lunch today. Definitely like Moses feeding the Israelites in the desert – we can only hope for a flock of quail.


Old Deck hand

7th December 2016
0950 UT
****The following report has been edited from its original print. When first written the “s” key failed to type and so the blog looked very different…; Sleep walking acro the Atlantic!
With lat light till eeing u behind but catching Challenger 2, the deicion wa called to remain flying the pinnaker until the wind roe or quall forced u to drop it. ****

Sleep walking across the Atlantic!
With last light still seeing us behind but catching Challenger 2, the decision was called to remain flying the spinnaker until the wind rose or squalls forced us to drop it. Prepped for the drop the guy was run through the letter box, harness was at the ready and all crew were briefed on what to do if certain circumstance were to arise.
Ricky, somehow, still on deck battled through stronger winds and some squally looking cloud, before handing over to myself after he was sternly told to go to sleep. The crew that had come on a standby in case of an imminent drop also went to bed.
A couple of hours later, after sharing the helm with Andrew and Peter I took the helm. The wind speed started to rise and shift alarmingly. Nic and his crew gazed out into the now pitch black night to try and pot approaching storm cloud whilst I gazed at the red lit instruments in a concentrated daze. One such monster was charging at us from behind, masked by the unlit nightime sky. More shifting, gusting winds and I asked for Ricky to waken from the chart table.
The radar confirmed a monster of a squall was about to hit us like a steam train.
As soon as the Skipper was on deck the wind increased dramatically. A call for all hands on deck and I darted toward the spinnaker pole out. A bouncy climb up the foreguy and a very juddered spike released the spinnaker to fly onto the back of the mainsail. Andrew and the crew carefully but hastily pulled the spinny down a Nic managed the snakepit.
The kite was down just in good time as the wind rose and Ricky saw upto 27 knot. The pole was then re- prepped and yankee and staysail hoisted and set…all in torrential rain. We must have looked a funny sight, a hive of action in our little bubble of light storming across the Atlantic Ocean in the darkness.
The crew did a great job of soggily wooling the spinnaker. Unfortunately Peter found a right angle tear of about 1x1 foot. Lacking sleep and still soaking wet he troopered on to patch and fix the tear.
This morning we are just about to undo the wooling, check the whole sail and then plan to re-wool and launch shortly. (1 foot long tear also found L ).
Again this race is throwing everything at us and our reserves are running low. It would be easy to throw up some smaller sails, sit back and relax until the race finishes…but it is a race after all.
We’ve all put in huge amount of effort so far and it would be a real shame to waste all of that now. Not long to hold on for until the finish when the only time squalls will worry us is when we are sleeping on deck in hammocks and have to dart below for cover.
Feeling much like a wide eyed, wobbly zombie at the moment (and probably look much the same!) We are down to our last tank of water, and so, after most people having daily showers (double??), they are off. After 3 during the crossing I was quite looking forward to washing the suncream and salt off my skin, oh well St Lucia it will be!

Wide-eyed, wobbly zombie that used to look like Challenger 3’ Mate
Please visit this link on First Class Sailing website for a more detailed blog

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